Monday, January 28, 2013

Review of Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

There are novels that stick with you for a long time after reading them. This is one of those novels. Dorrie and Isabelle are the epitome of an odd couple. Isabelle is an almost ninety-year old white woman, and Dorrie is a thirty-something year old black woman. They form a strong friendship over the course of ten years through the ritual of Dorrie doing Isabelle's hair. Most people know that conversations between hairdressers and their clients often get personal, but these two took that a step farther and actually become good friends. Dorrie invites Isabelle into her life while Isabelle openly accepts that invitation. The only problem is that Isabelle isn't as forth-coming with her past. That all changes with the road trip from Texas to Cincy (Cincinnati). Julie Kibler has written a quinessential woman's fiction that is riddled with themes such as love, race issues, friendship, forgiveness, and acceptance. At first glance,the story centers around a romance Isabelle has shared with a man of color during the 1940s which is no surprise as being taboo as well as dangerous. Dorrie is a single mother of two who is dating a new man but is afraid to let him into her life completely although he seems to be a good man. The author fuses the two women's stories into one cohesive story of faith, hope, and love.
This book isn't about romance (entirely) but really a journey for two women that could mirror many who are the core audience for this type of novel. There are race issues that are touched upon in this book and reminds many people that the since 1940s much has changed, but entirely not enough. It's very inspiring to see that two very different people can find common ground in a world that's often times forced them to live separately. I found the friendship between Dorrie and Isabelle to be believeable and not forced for the sake of a good story. They complement each other. In conclusion, there are moments in this book that will leave the reader angry, hopeful, laughing, or crying. It was an emotional rollarcoaster, for me at least. I imagine readers of women's fiction would find this fast-paced novel is worthy of their time. I look forward to reading more by this author.

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